The state of Texas is on the receiving end of national backlash after its new anti-abortion law—the most restrictive in the nation—went into effect earlier this month.
Senate Bill 8, misleadingly known as the "Heartbeat Bill"—bans abortions after six weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. What's more, it encourages Texans to report any neighbor they suspect received or even facilitated, in any way, an abortion after that period, promising a bounty of up to $10 thousand.
The six week ban is in blatant violation of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which found that abortion up to the point of fetal viability—around 24 weeks—is a constitutional right. Nevertheless, the conservative Supreme Court has refused to intervene on the matter.
President Joe Biden's Justice Department sued the state of Texas over the law, with Attorney General Merrick Garland saying:
"The Act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent. The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that no state can deprive individuals of their constitutional rights through a legislative scheme specifically designed to prevent the vindication of those rights."
The Department also slammed Texas for deputizing its own citizens by relying on their reports and promising bounties for viable ones, instead of deferring enforcement to the Executive Branch.
Now, the Lone Star State's defense of the law is garnering even more backlash for grasping at straws.
In response to one of the Justice Department's arguments—that the bill affects interstate commerce—Texas countered that S.B. 8 stimulates interstate commerce by forcing Texans to leave the state to secure an abortion.
The filing reads:
"In this case, the federal government does not bring a commerce claim, nor does it cite any actual evidence that the Texas Heartbeat Act burdens interstate commerce. ... What evidence that does exist in the record suggests that, if anything, the Act is stimulating rather than obstructing interstate travel. "
People were stunned at the defense.
Some were left aghast.
It's unclear how the Supreme Court will toss out decades' of Roe v. Wade precedent, but given its conservative majority, some are fearing the worst.